Yew Tree Care - Planting, Fertilizing and Cutting

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Yew Tree Care - Planting, Fertilizing and Cutting: tree

The Yew combines all the good qualities hobby gardeners want from a hedge plant. Its evergreen branches - densely populated with velvety-soft needles - can easily handle every possible shape under the creative hedge trimmer. Thanks to its fabled cut compatibility, it presents itself again after each pruning peeled like from the egg. In order to benefit from the living green of a yew hedge over many years, only a few care aspects are of importance. How exactly plants, fertilizers and cutting succeed, betray the following lines.


  • Plant genus: Yew (Taxus)
  • Type: European yew (Taxus baccata)
  • Growth height without waste up to 15 meters
  • soft, crescent-shaped needles
  • evergreen and hardy
  • inconspicuous flowers from March to May
  • dark red seeds in autumn
  • toxic in all parts
Yews can reach a high age of several hundred years. The famous gardens of Versailles are living proof of the generational longevity in breathtaking beauty to which a yew hedge is capable.


All yew varieties score with a pronounced shadow tolerance. At a young age, the conifer favored a rather dark location. Only with increasing age is a yew also the full sunshine welcome. Botanists characterize taxus as a location-vague, which expresses the explicit flexibility very well, which also affects the soil condition.
  • sunny, partially shaded to shady location
  • the higher the temperatures, the less light is required
  • Dry, changeable moist to moist soil
  • Ideal is a fresh, humus, sandy-loamy garden soil
The lime content at the site plays no role in a yew hedge. From acidic to alkaline, it takes any given pH. Thus, tolerance is in every sense the central characteristic of a yew. Ergo, the design plans come to the fore when choosing the location for a yew hedge.


The best time to plant a yew hedge is in the weeks of late summer and early autumn. The soil is still warm, so the roots can easily establish themselves before the winter comes. Alternatively, the setting of the hedge in spring in question, just before the fresh budding. While the soil is being prepared, put the root balls in water so that they can soak. Meanwhile, lean soil is enriched with compost and horn shavings. Compacted soil receives a load of sand to improve permeability. For orientation at least two cords should be stretched, so that the straight course of the hedge is ensured. Make sure you have a reasonable distance to the neighboring property or road. For a dense growth plan at least three plants per meter. Then continue as follows:
  • Planting holes dig with twice the volume of the root ball
  • drainage at the sole, consisting of gravel, grit, gravel or potsherds
  • mix the excavation with compost and horn shavings
  • Place a potted yew centered so that the root area is flush with the ground
  • press the ground, pour on and protect with a layer of mulch
Keep in mind the high toxicity of the plant during all planting and care work. Be sure to wear gloves, long-sleeved clothing and eye protection.
Tip: If you spread some nettle leaves over the drainage in the planting hole, this measure will have a beneficial effect on root growth.

to water

The freshly planted yew hedge displays a high water requirement. Therefore, water daily and abundantly without causing waterlogging. After successfully coping with this somewhat critical phase, the frequency of watering decreases noticeably.
  • water adult yew hedge during summer drought
  • Water a little in winter on frost-free days when the snow is not there
  • Rainwater is just as suitable as tap or pond water


The nutrient supply of a yew hedge is limited to a start fertilization in the spring before the first budding. One dose of slow-release fertilizer is just as suitable as a generous portion of compost enriched with horny shavings. If you cultivate the hedge in a sandy location, the plants are grateful for one or another ration of compost or horse dung during the growing season. A mulch layer of grass clippings or leaves not only keeps the soil moist and warm, but also provides extra nutrients to the yew roots.

To cut


A dense, vital yew hedge emphasizes the prestige of the hobby gardener sustainable. The more knowledgeable the cut, the more intense the impressive look becomes. Consequently, it pays to pay proper attention to the annual form and maintenance cut. A yew hedge can be shaped throughout the year as long as it does not freeze.It makes sense for experienced gardeners to choose the early spring for this care measure before the fresh needles appear. If necessary, the hedge trimmer will then be used again at the end of June, when there will be a second shoot after Sankt Johannis. By mid / late August at the latest, a pruning should be done so that the conifers have enough time to mature to the first frost. Whether you want to create an imaginative hedge artwork, or just an opaque screen; Yews basically can take a cut in the old wood, so their creativity knows no bounds. The following handles apply to each cut:
  1. Tighten straightening cords or build a wooden frame.
  2. Thoroughly level out the hedge in the first step.
  3. Remove deadwood, sick, stunted branches on the base.
  4. Shorten branches that are too long until just above an outward eye.
  5. Make each cut at an angle without squeezing the shoot.
  6. An electric hedge trimmer always parallel to the hedge.
The very compact habit of a yew hedge requires a trapezoidal shape with rounded corners. Here, light and air can reach all regions, so that the trees do not corrode from the inside out. A narrow top edge widens to the base by 15-20 percent.
The yew is one of the few shrubs that expel from the cane again. This fact qualifies her as a suitable candidate for a rejuvenation cut, which is sometimes considered after 20 to 30 years. The entire hedge is cut off just above the ground. This radical measure is not allowed at all times. The Federal Nature Conservation Act provides for a protection period from 1 March to 30 September, so that breeding birds are not disturbed. A normal care cut is not affected by this rule.
The classic yew hedge has lost none of its topicality. It continues to lead the undisputed ranking of the most popular hedge plants. The popularity is due to a remarkable cut tolerance and modest ease in terms of care. Neither plants, nor fertilization or cutting pose a hobby gardener difficult challenges. When it comes to the cultivation of a yew hedge, the artistic design can be placed in the foreground.

Worth knowing about the yew hedge in short

  • Taxus bacatta, our native yew, is an ideal hedge plant, apart from the fact that almost everything about it is poisonous.
  • There are different varieties of yew, including a yellow variety: Taxus bacatta 'Washingtonii', the yellow shrub.
  • The advantage of yews is that they are evergreen. They are noble and unfortunately also expensive plants.
  • Yews become very old and grow as well as everywhere. They manage with little light and barren soil.
  • You can easily grow man-high and provides optimal privacy. It is good that they can withstand the root pressure of tall trees.
  • Yews are absolute survivors. From their root network they regenerate again and again, even if the trunk is destroyed or rotten.
  • The planting distance of yew trees, which are intended as hedge plants, should be at least 60 cm.
  • For low-growing varieties choose a slightly smaller distance.
  • The location for the hedge can be sunny, partially shaded and even shady.
  • The plants are satisfied with everything. They grow on any soil and can cope even on rocky ground.
  • The soil is loosened twice as deep as the plant container is deep. The excavation will be as deep as the plant container.
  • The earth does not have to be improved or enriched. You can plant about a handful of ground rock flour into each plant hole.
  • You do not have to fertilize yews otherwise. Of course, plenty of watering is needed after planting.
  • Even in the first two years after planting, the yew regularly needs water. After that she is so well rooted that she takes care of herself.
  • Yew hedges are easy to care for and dense.
  • Cutting yew hedges is no problem. They can handle every cut, even if you cut them down to 10 cm height.
  • They also drive out of the old wood again. However, it takes years after a radical cut, until the hedge has rebuilt.
  • Better is a regular cut. The best time for a cut is the early spring, before budding.
  • In principle, you can cut all year round, but from March to September, birds can breed in the hedge and that's why you just do not do it.
  • At most, outstanding new drive is cut off and not with a roaring hedge trimmer!
  • The yew can be increased by cuttings. But it will take a dense, high hedge.
Tip: Beware, yews are poisonous in almost all parts. This is not ideal for children and pets and especially bad for horses.

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